U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican representing most of western North Carolina, became on Wednesday night the first in the state’s congressional delegation to endorse Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for president, and he’s headed to Iowa soon to campaign for Cruz.
Most polls of likely GOP voters in Iowa show Cruz has the best chance of beating billionaire CEO Donald Trump in Monday’s caucus, but Trump is still enjoying a substantial lead.
Trump has said he will not participate in Fox’s GOP presidential debate on Thursday night, just days before Iowa voters caucus. Meadows called that a “mistake” on Wednesday night during an interview with Fox’s Greta Van Susteren on “On the Record.”
“He needs to be there and certainly the American people deserve that,” Meadows said. “I was disappointed in that decision by Donald Trump.”
Most of N.C.’s congressional delegation has been silent on GOP endorsements
Cruz has since challenged Trump to a one-on-one debate.
Meadows called Cruz his friend and told Susteren on Wednesday, “The man that you see on the campaign trail is the same one you get to see when there is no cameras, when there is no reporters and he has been consistent.”
Meadows said he’ll work with Cruz in North Carolina to win over voters.
So far, Cruz has picked up 18 endorsements from members of Congress, including Meadows. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has tallied 31 endorsements, including support from five sitting senators and North Carolina’s Rep. Patrick McHenry.
Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., endorsed Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky early on. Others from North Carolina’s delegation have so far stayed out of the endorsement game.
Democratic Reps. G.K. Butterfield and David Price of North Carolina have endorsed Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State, for their party’s nomination.